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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition (PC)

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition (PC) - Review

by Daniel Parker , posted on 15 February 2021 / 1,293 Views
  
Given how short games in the beat-'em-up genre tend to be, it's always great to find a title that's worth coming back to again and again.  In spite of a few flaws introduced in this release, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition is still a welcome comeback for a game that hasn't been available for purchase since 2014 and it boasts all of the original's additional content.
   
  
Even though we've seen other prominent titles in the genre release recently, including Streets of Rage 4, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World actually doesn't feel dated when compared to them, and if you enjoyed Streets of Rage 4 in particular then you'll probably enjoy this game as well.
  
Visually, it features a pixel art graphical style that's an approximation of what 2D games looked like during the 4th generation of consoles.  Some people refer to this as 16-bit.  However, for various technical reasons, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World isn't a 16-bit game, and that's for the best because it looks and sounds better than anything we would have gotten in the 90s - be it home console or arcade machine.  The colors are vibrant, backgrounds have lots of detail, and there are loads of animated NPC characters, which leads the entire game to feel very lively.  No matter if you're fighting during the day, night, or at the bottom of a secret hide-out, the pixel art here is a visual, stylized treat that doesn't age.  The best part of it all is that, no matter how many sprites there are on-screen at once, there's never any flicker.
  
In a similar fashion to the game's visuals, the sound design is also inspired by classic consoles, with the music being composed by the band Anamanaguchi.  While the chiptune music is nice, at least initially, some themes are admittedly better than others.  It may also become tiresome to listen to after a while, and this isn't helped by some of the scratchy sound effects as you kick, punch, and smash brooms over the heads of your enemies, although that's the way it's designed to sound.
  
  
Putting personal issues regarding the sound aside, the problems don't end there, as there seem to be several new bugs introduced in this version of the game that weren't present in the original release.   Specifically, for one reason or another, enemies will turn invisible or become stuck in place.  Both of these issues are annoying for different reasons  - the frustration of being attacked by invisible foes needs no explanation, but characters that are locked in place also have a mirrored walking animation that switches sides every other frame, which makes it seem as though the single character is walking into himself, locked in place unable to attack until the player deals damage.
  
There are also issues regarding the game's button mapping and display prompts.  Before playing, you'll have to swap the controls for your "fast" and "heavy" attacks.  These should be your "1" and "2" buttons (Square and Triangle respectively, for PlayStation controls), and are labeled as such in the menu, however by default when you actually press the 1 button it's your heavy attack.  What this also means is that for every button prompt involving those two buttons (the in-game move list included), you'll have to remember to press the other button.  If it says press Circle and Square together, then you should actually press Circle and Triangle together, for example.
  
There are also minor visual bugs on some of the title's backgrounds: the game's blacks, which are supposed to be used to cover sprites and menus, have transparency.  This is especially noticeable before you start the game, as the opening credit for Engine Software shows this bug, as does the opening cut scene and certain other areas of the game.  This really deals a bad blow to the Complete Edition's overall level of polish.  
  
  
Finally there's one more issue, at least with the PC version; since there's no FPS option, your display monitor must be set to a multiple of 60.  Setting the monitor to 60 or 120 won't produce any issues with lag, however the game is noticeably slower if it's set to 165, for example.  This probably won't be a problem for most people, but it's something to keep in mind, as there are no graphical settings within the game itself.  
  
It's never a good thing when a re-release is handled so poorly that it introduces bugs that were never in the original game, and hopefully these issues will be patched out in a future update, but even though it isn't a perfect re-release everything that made the original game good is at least still here.
  
So as you fight your way through each of the game's locations, you'll earn money and level up, similarly to an RPG game.  Each time your character levels up, you'll unlock new attacks and increase your character's stats.  There are also items in the various different shops that you can buy to increase your stats even further.  This is crucial as you're constantly swarmed by hordes of enemies, so grinding through each area and leveling up your character will make the game progressively easier - even if that occasionally means repeating some of the same stages in order to further build up your character's strength.  Not only will your move set increase as you play, but there are also objects that you can pick up and swing at your foes to keep the gameplay from degrading into a stale mashing frenzy.
  
  
If you plan to use more than one character, or play with others locally, you'll have to level each character, otherwise the gameplay will become lopsided, with one player contributing more to the action than the other.  If necessary, though, it's possible to individually reset each character's stats to zero so that no one player starts with an overpowered character.  The stats of each character also carry over from mode to mode, including online.  But unfortunately you have to select your character before connecting to anyone else, so you cannot try to select your character based on the level of your online ally's character, at least not without some sort of pre-planning.  It can really ruin the experience when you're level 17 and the other player is barely scraping by at level three.
  
Even though Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has online, it's limited to the Story mode.  This may explain why the online, for the PC version at least, is non-existent, although you can use third-party software to connect to players and have access to all of the game's features using something like Parsec.
  
Survival Horror is arguably the best mode outside of the main Story mode itself, as it's something you can play countless times either alone or with others locally, fighting wave upon wave of zombies and trying to beat your personal best score.  The other modes, including Boss Rush, Battle Royal (a player vs. player mode), and Dodgeball aren't really all that much fun to be honest and provide only brief distractions - you're better off just playing different characters in the Story mode instead, because that's where the game is at its best.  It should however be noted that the only story-telling the game does is through the opening animation, which you see when the game starts up; if you have an interest in the story itself, you'll need to look into other forms of media, as the game itself doesn't offer much.  Then again that's to be expected of a beat-'em up title.
  
  
Despite the multiple minor issues regarding this re-release that I've detailed above, none of this should really stop you from enjoying Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition, especially if you loved the original game and are simply looking to play it on modern hardware.  It certainly would have been nice if new content had been added to the game, or it had featured reworked sound design and a soundtrack that was a bit easier on the ears, with the option to switch back to the original settings based on individual preferences, but at least it includes all of the DLC from the original release - plus, sadly, a few new bugs.
  


This review is based on a digital copy of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game - Complete Edition for the PC

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5 Comments
The Fury (on 16 February 2021)

Nice review, 2 of my friends bought the game on PS4, one has asked for a refund. The version is a buggy mess, they played online and could barely get past the opening level. The other friend tried to stick it out but he says it crashes on the regular.

  • +4
Burning Typhoon The Fury (on 16 February 2021)

Ouch. Yeah, the game never outright crashed for me, but I did notice bugs. I was expecting going into it, that this version would at least be better than the PS3 version, but I guess not.

  • 0
Signalstar (on 18 February 2021)

No more review scores for ports and remasters? Why?

  • 0
coolbeans Signalstar (on 18 February 2021)

Well.... not so much port as remasters and collections. It was the majority opinion among reviewers when the topic came up. I was in the minority. :'(

  • 0
Machina Signalstar (on 18 February 2021)

The major issue with remasters and collections is how do you balance the score you'd give to the base game(s) versus the quality of the remaster effort and any added content?

We see this conflict with virtually every remaster and collection we review, and a very stark example recently was with the 3D Mario collection, where the base games are some of the most acclaimed of their generations (most of the individual games being 9+), but the effort put into the remaster wasn't impressive, and as for added content/features... well, yeah.

Recent ports and full-on remakes will still be scored, but remasters and collections we're not scoring anymore.

  • 0